Organizing Blog

How to Organize for Couples


It’s February. February is the month of couples, love, and romance. But, if your home is filled with more clutter and disorganization than romance, it may be time to address the issue with your spouse.

It’s important that an individual never acts on the urge to organize or dispose of their spouse’s possessions. The number one rule in couple organization is to respect each others stuff. Begin instead by sitting down and making a few up front decisions about your space. Determine each space that needs to be addressed. Many couples argue over the garage, the entryway or mudroom, or the mail in the paper drop zone. Make a list of each of your problem areas and address each in turn.

As a couple, discuss you’re ideal vision of the space.

Include your thoughts on how it should look and function.

1. Decide who owns the area or who uses the area the majority of the time.

2. Decide how much space is reasonable for each person to store the necessary items in that space.

3. Create a space plan for the items that will stay in that area. Ensure that everything has been given a home.

4. Create a plan for spaces used equally by each partner. Determine what the expectations will be for the space.

5. Empty the area and sort the items into categories. Move out the items that belong elsewhere.

6. Label areas clearly that will be used equitably by each partner. It’s difficult to put something away if you don’t know where it goes or if it hasn’t been given a home.

Some rules to keep in mind when maintaining  organization:

1. Each partner should be allowed an area that they can do with as they like. Let’s call it the “Hands Off Area”. Decide together where that area is and the expectation for that space.

2. Label, label, label. The best way to ensure things get put back where they go is to make it more difficult to put things in the wrong place. Labels help everyone know where the intended home is located.

3. Do not judge or place blame. It can be extremely damaging to your organization efforts. When difficulties arise refer back to your original space plan to resolve issues. Don’t be afraid to tweak the space plan when changes occur.

4. Be careful to always allow the other person the space they were promised.

5. Always be respectful of others’ things. Do not organize or dispose of others’ items without their permission. When in doubt, place their items in their designated “Hands Off Area”.

If you continue to experience disagreements over clutter and space it is wise to reach out for help. A neutral 3rd party can see the space in a new light and a professional organizer can offer tips and solutions you hadn’t thought of.